Readers familiar with my book reviews already know of my keen appreciation for books relating to behavioral economics – including the original Freakonomics, The Undercover Economist, Predictably Irrational and many more!
SuperFreakonomics is a fantastic new entry in this line of writing. Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner cover a wide range of topics – prostitution, terrorism, apathy, altruism, hospital health outcomes, car safety and even global warming. They employ with great efficacy the same writing technique Malcolm Gladwell and Bill Bryson use in Outliers and A Short Story of Nearly Everything: they make their stories relatable and personal by detailing the lives of the people behind their analysis.
Ultimately, SuperFreakonomics is an analysis of the incentives people face and the consequences of their responses to those incentives, but what gives it such power is the story of Nathan Myhrvold, Ignatz Semmelweis, Robert McNamara and countless others.
If you read the Freakonomics blog, you might be familiar with some of the topics raised in the book, but the analysis and stories only gain from the more detailed and richer analysis in the book.
Read the book!